Motherhood has made me weird.
Like, before kids, I was mostly normal. I didn’t worry about life, and I pretty much trusted things to work out. My biggest worry before kids was how I was going to fill my Thursday nights when Friends ended (I mean, seriously, Thursday nights have never been the same, amiright?). My husband and I did what we wanted, when we wanted, and save for the occasional financial mini-crisis or an epic hangover on a Sunday morning, life was pretty damn good.
And then I had kids and shit got weird—fast.
More specifically, I got weird about the strangest things. Suddenly, after my son was born, a Law & Order: SVU episode about a dead child had me sobbing and weepy. I worried about my doors being locked at night and germs on shopping carts. If a stranger smiled at my infant son in the grocery store, I was convinced he or she was plotting to steal him right from under my nose. Peanut butter became the enemy (allergies!), and if I heard of an abducted child on the news, I had to stop myself from leading the search party.
Like I said, becoming a mother made me weird. And I know I’m not alone because when I broached the subject with my friends, they all chimed in immediately with things or places they can no longer tolerate since having kids. One friend even told me she gets hostile at zoos because she can’t handle mamas being separated from their offspring. It’s a pretty extreme reaction that she blames on motherhood.
I have a list of things that I can’t handle since kids, and I’m fairly certain it’s undeniable proof that motherhood actually makes women bonkers.
1. Baked Goods
Before I had kids, there wasn’t a baked good I wouldn’t sample. I was a big supporter and fan of bake sales and often patronized the church sale on Sundays. And then I had kids and saw how they “help” in the kitchen: germy fingers poking into cake batter, snotty noses sneezing near the rolled-out dough, little tongues licking spoons and then stirring the ingredients. I can’t tell you how many batches of cookies my kids have ruined in my kitchen, and you are lying if you say your kids aren’t disgusting, too. So, I’m sorry, elementary school bake sales: I’ll give you a donation, but I’m not eating your goods. Nope.
2. Being Home Alone at Night
My husband travels occasionally for work, and when he’s gone, I get less sleep than I did when my children were newborns. Every creak, noise, and sound makes me bolt up in bed, and my fight or flight response is in overdrive. Just ask me about the time I came home from work late one night to find my front door wide open while my husband was on a business trip six states away. I had half of the police department show up to make sure everything was under control, and I’m certain they all think I’m bananas—which I am, because motherhood has done that to me.
I used to love taking trips that involved air travel. A cocktail, an inflight movie, a long nap? Yes, please! But now when I travel with my kids, 35,000 feet looks like a very long way down, and I sweat every bit of turbulence. I jump out of my skin every time the pilot comes on the speaker to give us an update because I’m convinced he’s going to tell us to put on our life jackets. While my kids are happily enjoying a movie on the iPad, I’m counting rows to the exit signs and eyeing up everyone to watch for suspicious behavior. I practically kiss the ground when we’ve made it in one piece to our vacation destination, and I really miss inflight cocktails.
4. Banks and Convenience Stores
When my son was tiny, I stopped by our bank to make a deposit. As I stood there, I wondered what I’d do if an armed robber came into the bank. How would I keep my son quiet? And then I realized I had forgotten his binkie in the car and thought, Oh my god, what if he starts crying and I have a gun to my head and I can’t console him and he becomes motherless because the gunman shoots me for being a mom who forgets a binkie? So that day, I pretty much decided I’d never take my kids into a bank. Same goes for convenience stores. I only do drive up windows for my daily java because I’m afraid to take my kids inside a convenience store, which makes me caffeinated and whacky.
5. Waterskiing and Contact Sports
My husband and I were on a trip and had the opportunity to learn to waterski. As much as I tried to learn and pay attention to the instructions, all I could think was that if I suffered a traumatic brain injury from a rogue waterski, my kids would lose their mother and the laundry pile would never be the same. Since kids, I’d prefer not to participate in sports that require me to hold objects that could cause me to be completely knocked out.
6. Being Out on the Town for New Year’s Eve
Since having kids, going out on the town for New Year’s Eve has lost its luster. I don’t even like driving our kids the short distance we drive to the party we attend every year. I have visions of our entire family being wiped out by a drunk who has imbibed more than his share of the bubbly as he ushers in the New Year. I much prefer watching the ball drop from the safety of my couch while my cherubs are tucked in their beds—thank you very much.
7. Subways and Elevators
Every time I’m near a subway or an elevator with my kids, I have a pain in my chest. I am convinced that one of my kids will get on before I do, the doors will close, and my kid will be whisked away to parts unknown. I’m also equally afraid that they won’t hold my hand tightly enough and the doors will close as I catch a glimpse of them with giant, scared eyes. I swear, my kids will be 21 and I’ll still be squeezing the hell out of their hands and yelling, “Stay with Mommy!” as we jump on the subway in New York City.
So there you have it, a glimpse into my utterly neurotic thoughts since I’ve become a mother. And I know I’m not alone, so don’t even try to pretend you didn’t nod your head as you read my list of weirdness. Whether it’s freaked from zoo animals or worries about having to rescue your kid Jack Bauer-style in the subway, I think we can all admit that our kids have officially made us batshit bonkers.